Sandygate Road, Sandygate, Sheffield, S10
An impressive multipurpose church, hall and presbytery of the late 1980s, with a striking hexagonal form and interior with contemporary furnishings.
To serve the increasing population in Sheffield’s western suburbs of Fulwood, Crosspool and Lodgemoor, Mgr John Provost acquired a former Church of England school room in Bently Lane, Crosspool to be used as a chapel-of-ease, affiliated to St Marie’s parish in 1957. Pews were brought here from St Marie’s, then undergoing reordering.
The chapel-of-ease became the parish church in 1968, when St Marie’s parish was divided and a new parish of St Francis erected, led by Fr Ronald Fox. A parish centre was constructed to the rear of the former school playground to provide additional facilities. With the construction of further houses in the area in the 1980s the Bently Lane site was no longer adequate to serve a growing congregation. In 1986 Miss Marion Young donated land adjacent to her property in Sandygate Road and the decision was made to build a new church here. The architect was Vincente Stienlet, the builders Messrs John Dixon and Company of Doncaster; the foundation stone was blessed on 25 February 1989 by Bishop Moverley, who consecrated and opened the new church on 1 December 1989.
The church is built facing east and with the altar towards the south. For the purposes of this report liturgical convention will be followed i.e. the sanctuary referred to as the east end.
The church is hexagonal on plan, with a striking tiered and tapered hexagonal roof with a cross and vertical aluminium patent glazing to both the west gable and underneath the tiered roof line. The roof is laid with grey Redland Richmond slates with a series of rooflights. The lower walls are of plain brickwork across all elevations with a sequence of patent glazing. The presbytery, although interlinked with the church has a contrasting appearance, with timber windows and render at first floor level.
The entrance to the church is at the north end through a double door with a contemporary designed glass block feature to the left with yellow coloured glass in the form of a cross. The narthex leads into a series of spaces which accommodate the presbytery, church, chapel, parish hall and a meeting room via a curved brick staircase. The church has a welcoming interior and is a high and well-lit space incorporating various ceiling pitches and forms. Most of the interior walls are plastered and coloured light cream. To the northern end of the church is a series of columns supporting the roof structure and a moveable screen which separates the church from the parish hall. The sanctuary platform is up two steps and projects into the nave area, which has contemporary wooden benches. The day chapel, where the tabernacle is located, is visible from the church through a glazed screen, contributing to the openness of the interior. To the north of the sanctuary is the choir area with a contemporary organ.
The font is located in the centre of the church and is hexagonal in shape, reflecting the plan of the church; it was designed by Morag Gordon. It is one of a number of furnishings produced for the opening of the church. The most striking of these is the sculpture of the Risen Christ, over the sanctuary, by Fenwick Lawson. Other furnishings include Stations of the Cross by Maggie Bakkevold and an Icon of Our Lady by Sr Ethna, OSB.
Architect: Vincente Stienlet
Original Date: 1989
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed